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Hiring at Baremetrics: The art of hiring when your team is all over the place

January 5, 2016

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Hiring at Baremetrics: The art of hiring when your team is all over the place

9 min read

Our guest today is a passionate product builder. He’s been building his own products since high school, and two years ago, he built one product to solve common problems he found in his client work. Today, this product is his business with six full-time employees, all of whom work remotely.

The product is Baremetrics, a SaaS (Software as a Service) analytics for Stripe. Some cool, quick facts about it:

  • 8 days, is how long it took him to build and launch the first version of Baremetrics. Team: 1 person. Revenue: $0.
  • 8 weeks later, the first version became profitable. Team: 1 person. Revenue: $2,000/month.
  • 6 months later, Baremetrics turned into a full-fledged Saas business. Team: 2 persons. Revenue: $14,000/month.
  • Last year, the Stripe Fund invested $500k in Baremetrics. Team: 3 persons. Revenue: $20,000/month.

Today, we spoke with the man behind it all… Josh Pigford!

In the following interview, Josh Pigford covered the topics below:

  • Sometimes email is not simple enough for remote team communication
  • Know your hiring niche and go look for it
  • The importance of hiring people who already know you
  • Know your deal-breaker
  • It’s the relationship that counts in the end
  • Cultural fit is not checking boxes

The art of hiring when your team is all over the place

Perry Oostdam: Alright, we’ve got Josh Pigford from Baremetrics over here in Recruitee’s Founders’ Talks. Thanks a lot, Josh Pigford for your time.

Josh Pigford: Thanks for having me.

Perry Oostdam: We’re a big fan of Baremetrics. We’ve been using it for quite some time now. I think it’s gaining quite some traction in Europe, right?

Josh Pigford: Yeah, we’ve got customers all over the place.

Perry Oostdam: We’d like to zoom in a bit about your hiring process, how you grow the team. I think it’s a particular story because you work remotely all over the country.

Josh Pigford: We have four in the US, one in Canada, one in the UK. We’re hiring a couple more.

Perry Oostdam: You’re always a remote team from the start, right?

Josh Pigford: Yeah, we’re totally remote.

Perry Oostdam: How do you work? What is your structure? Do you use Trello or Slack?

Sometimes email is not simple enough for remote team communication

Josh Pigford: Our tools set around remote working. I would say it’s pretty vanilla. Yes, as you mention, we use Trello, we use Slack, we use various doc sharing tools like Google Docs and Dropbox. That is the one thing that we haven’t ever totally agreed on. Something has better integrations with things like Slack or Trello than others, while Google Docs is kind of clunky. So there is a little bit of a mix there. But that’s about it: docs sharing, Slack, and Trello. We don’t use email, at all.

Perry Oostdam: Ok. And Pivotal for back-end developers, I guess? Or do you also use Trello for that?

Josh Pigford: We use some of the comment in GitHub. But for the most part, even all of that exists in Trello.

Perry Oostdam: Your remote team is not that big, right? Just six, seven people at the moment?

Josh Pigford: Six right now and I’m hiring a couple more.

Perry Oostdam: How do you hire? Is there any source you find interesting?

Know your hiring niche and go find it

Josh Pigford: It depends on the job or the position. I think job boards can be pretty useful, but not the really big ones like monster.com or indeed. Usually, the quality of applicants coming from those is pretty low. Even job boards from Stack Overflow, and GitHub have typically not worked out that well. But I think that’s got a lot to do with our focus on hiring people who are good at working remotely. Basecamp has their own job board weworkremotely.com, and it’s great. The quality is pretty high there, and it’s from people who are familiar with remote working. It’s a skill set. You have to know how to work remotely.

Perry Oostdam: Yeah, totally agree.

Josh Pigford: So I think posting to industry or position’s specific job boards is pretty important there. The big, generic ones typically don’t pan out.

Perry Oostdam: Can you share a bit about posting actively to job boards versus sourcing passive candidates? Do you often scout for talent?

Josh Pigford: We don’t use any kind of service for that, and we don’t do on-going job postings other than our own job board baremetrics.com/jobs. Unless we’re actively hiring, we don’t do job boards posting. I haven’t had a lot with actually scouting out specific engineers. But doing that with designers can work pretty well, like looking at portfolios and reaching out and that kind of stuff.

Perry Oostdam: I guess Dribbble, for instance, is a great source for designers.

Josh Pigford: Sure.

Perry Oostdam: Interesting. We see more remote teams coming by, and we notice that candidates sourcing, as we’d like to call it, is sometimes used from 80% to 90% of the time.

The importance of hiring people who already know you

Josh Pigford: Well, I think another piece of the pie is that we do a lot of work from the marketing side. We write a ton on our blog. A lot of people know Baremetrics through the blog. That is a source of people knowing about Baremetrics and knowing about our job openings. So it’s not like we’re a company that nobody knows about. When we try to find people to work for us, there are people who know about us. It’s a lot easier to find people that way.

Perry Oostdam: So the blog is not only for marketing but also a good source for candidates as well?

Josh Pigford: Right. We don’t even post job openings on the blog. It’s just people following and being on the mailing list. And just being aware of Baremetrics, in general, makes it a lot easier to hire. We have hires who found out about us because they had followed Baremetrics before. I think that plays a big role, at least for us.

Perry Oostdam: You said earlier that an important skill is being able to work remotely. It requires a certain attitude, a certain commitment, I guess. Is there an example that it didn’t work out?

Know your deal-breaker in hiring

Josh Pigford: We have to let people go when working remotely wasn’t a good fit for them. If you have not worked remotely, we’re not in the position or in the state to say: “I want Baremetrics to be where you learn how to work remotely.” Just because that’s not a good fit for them. It’s not a negative thing, but that’s just not their back. They need to be around people, that’s how they keep moving forward on the project. So I haven’t had somebody who has not experienced working remotely and contributed majorly.

Perry Oostdam: The blog is an important source for you guys. What about tips for companies that are not there yet, that don’t have the inbound traffic that you have? Is there anything you could advise in term of how you grow a team? What are the things to look out for?

In the end, it’s the relationship that counts

Josh Pigford: I think a lot of it can come down to the relationship. The very first hire that I made was a guy that I had met at a conference a couple of years before we stayed in touch. And again, other people that we’ve hired have known about us, have known about me. I think it’s important to realize that it’s a long play. It’s nothing like you could really do more than getting to know people. Maybe that’s going to conferences, maybe not a lot of times because it’s kind of a waste of time. Just that: You can’t hire in a silo. You have to know people, and I mean, business, in general, revolves around knowing people. Not necessarily knowing really popular whatever people, it’s just having relationships with people. Because that pays off in the long run.

Perry Oostdam: I see that you also pay attention to how you come across – your branding part. A little fun element around the team, a little playful design. Is this something you look for in a candidate as well?

Cultural fit is not checking boxes

Josh Pigford: Sure. It sort of falls under culture, but I think the people who tend to gravitate towards us maybe share the same sense of humor. At least for this one time, everyone in our team, like I would say, was pretty funny. That’s not like I’m trying to hire people that are funny, but it’s just a common thing that we happen to be really drawn to each other. So there is a lot in common around whether the things that we like, or things that we find funny, or stuff that we like to do. I think a lot of that stuff is subconscious because I’m not actively saying: “Do they check off all these boxes?” But I think it’s a natural output of either my personality or the team’s personality or just the way that we’ve built the company up to this point that pulls in those kinds of people.

Perry Oostdam: Thanks a lot. Just one last question. Do you on purpose keep the team small? Or is it that you don’t want to have 20, 30 people all over the place? What is your plan for the future?

Josh Pigford: We do plan on growing. Probably in the next 12 to 18 months, we will double in tiers. So we’ve got a ton of stuff in the pipeline about the next 12 months.

Perry Oostdam: And it’s gonna be all remotely? Or are you finding office space?

Josh Pigford: Yes. And no. Right now there is no plan of having any office space.

Perry Oostdam: We love you stay how you are. We love what you guys are doing. Congratulations on having such a great software. We enjoy using it, so we’re definitely your ambassadors.

Josh Pigford: Cool, I appreciate it.

Perry Oostdam: Thanks a lot for your time.

Josh Pigford: Thanks.

Final thoughts

I would like to thank Josh for bringing up many key factors in hiring for a remote team. You must absolutely, undoubtedly know your work style and what you’re looking for. Only then can you find the “cultural fit.” Still, you should not treat this as a personality checklist, but more of a foundation to build strong relationships.

Perry Oostdam is the co-founder of Recruitee. With a passion for tech and scaling teams, he has been active in the SaaS space as a founder, advisor and investor. Perry believes in the power of HR tech to help revolutionize the way companies and teams grow.
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